Charissa Talbot | Operations Manager
Charissa will complete her Holistic Healthcare Practitioner certification from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in January 2014. Before going back to school to study nutrition, she was a personal and group trainer for over six years. Through a combination of lifestyle, nutrition, and mindset changes, Charissa has overcome her own struggles with addiction to smoking, depression, anxiety/panic attacks, insomnia, food fears, and chronic heartburn (acid reflux).
Charissa used to live for KFC, pizza, bagels and Kraft Mac & Cheese. She did not step foot into a gym until she was 27, but something stuck because later that year she quit smoking and became a personal trainer. She received 200 hours of nutrition education and thought she knew it all. She recommended and followed a diet of lean meats, brown rice, low-fat yogurt, veggies, fruit, and “healthy” whole grains. She thought she was healthy, but she did not feel healthy; so began her run of diets including Jillian Michaels’ meal plan, The Kind Diet, a variety of low-fat diets, clean food diets and even the Master Cleanse. She counted calories, weighed her food, ate six meals per day and became obsessed with all things health and fitness. One day she found herself sitting in a Balanced Bites seminar. That is when she had her “Ah-Ha!” moment and has never looked back.
Working for Balanced Bites has been an unexpected and incredible journey. She feels truly blessed to work with Diane and the rest of the amazing people who make up the Balanced Bites team. The most rewarding part is the opportunity to help others find their own path to complete wellness and see their lights turn on as they realize how good they can feel.
Holly Morello | Content Development Lead
Holly’s nutrition education and certification is from the Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA). She also has a notable amount of continuing education and advanced training in nutrition. Her work in in the field includes her own practice, Nourishing Excellence Nutritional Therapy, LLC and her work with Balanced Bites as content developer, researcher, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Long before her certification with the NTA, she studied nutrition, was a certified racewalk coach, was a fitness instructor, and studied Reiki (she is currently a Reiki II practitioner). Her earlier career and educational background was in computer electronics, management, and project management.
Holly’s passion for nutrition and Paleo is driven by the incredible results in her own health and that of her family. Paleo played a significant role in enhancing the athletic performance of one son and completely transformed the quality of life for another. In fact, their story is so compelling that one-day they plan to write a book about it.
Being part of the Balanced Bites team has been incredibly rewarding for Holly in so many ways. She feels honored and blessed to be among such an amazing team, especially working closely with Diane — a brilliant, incredibly talented, hardworking individual. Holly is inspired and motivated each and every day by Diane and her fans, the Balanced Bites team, the moderators, and her 1:1 clients.
Rebekah Reddy | Content Development
Rebekah has been a stay-at-home mom to her three children for the past seven years, but in her former life she was a high school English/ESL teacher. She has a BA in English with a minor in Spanish, an MA in English with an emphasis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and a California teaching credential. She also is a certified Nutrition Educator and the author of the blog Half Indian Cook.
Rebekah’s interest in nutrition started when she became pregnant with her first child and wanted to provide herself and her baby with the best nutrition possible. After a few years of independent studies, she enrolled in the nutrition education course at Bauman College. It was during this time that she discovered Balanced Bites and was introduced to the Paleo movement. She had already been transitioning away from refined and processed foods, so the principles of Paleo nutrition resonated with her and she has gradually adopted a Paleo diet and lifestyle.
Rebekah loves being part of the Balanced Bites team because she believes wholeheartedly in Diane’s message of real food nutrition to achieve optimal health. She also loves using her writing and editing skills to help educate others about how to be their healthiest selves. Working with a team of like-minded and incredibly talented people who are passionate about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is amazing, and she is thankful to Diane for bringing them all together.
Brooke Hartle | Social Media Coordinator Lead
Brooke is currently in graduate school at Syracuse University getting her Master of Library and Information Science degree, specializing in Telecommunications and Information Systems. In addition to working for Balanced Bites, she is an Assistant Librarian for a community college and before that she was a stay at home mom.
She became interested in nutrition about four years ago. She was overweight, suffered from chronic depression, and was constantly sick. She started by cutting out wheat, and felt so amazing that she started researching nutrition and ways to get even healthier! She has lost 50 lbs., and has gotten off depression medication, not to mention getting this amazing job!
The thing Brooke likes best about being part of the Balanced Bites team is the people! She loves working with Diane and Charissa and the rest of her teammates! She also loves the people she gets to interact with that are trying to improve their health.
Tonja Field | Recipe Development
Tonja holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and worked work many years in advertising for a local newspaper. She interned in a marketing department for a local software company and was an account coordinator for an advertising agency. Soon after graduating, she started pre-requisite classes for a local radiography program to move to a job that she felt had more ability to help people. She’s been working mainly as a CT Technologist for a local hospital for the past seven years.
Tonja is not one to follow fad diets, and although she’s followed calorie restriction plans for weight loss in the past, the “next new diet” never appealed to her. However, the rumblings of Paleo seemed to keep showing up in her life through various avenues, and near the beginning of 2010 she finally decided to look into it–and it made SENSE. Ever since mid-2010 she’s been eating mostly Paleo and has continued to dig deeper into learning more about nutrition/clean eating, as well as all other aspects of life that contribute to a healthy human being. She still feels she has a ways to go in her personal journey, but she enjoys inspiring people along the way.
Early in her Paleo journey Tonja stumbled across Diane and her Balanced Bites page and quickly realized that Diane’s knowledge, personality and character appealed to her. Because of these traits, the people Diane has selected for her team display these same traits and all have very specific talents–each day Tonja is amazed at how well things get done and how much each of them enjoys working for Diane as well as with each other.
Nicole Pittman | Graphic Design
Nicole received a BA in graphic design from the University of San Francisco and accredits her liberal philosophy on life to her Jesuit education and liberal arts curriculum. Upon graduation, she began working with small businesses, helping them cultivate their brands and optimize their online marketing presences. After reaching somewhat of an existential crisis on her 25th birthday and Nicole started asking herself what mattered most to her. So shortly after, she sent an email to Diane offering her experience and services, because she so strongly believed in Diane’s message and philosophy. Eventually, through the support of Diane and others in the Paleo community, she’s been able to quit her full-time job and fully commit herself to supporting a cause that she whole-heartedly believes in.
Nicole’s interest in nutrition started after years of playing around with her diet to try to alleviate her chronic digestive distress. She ate a vegan diet, cut calories and began to feel better with exercise and weight loss, but eventually her body began to break down, leading to symptoms like depression, horrible acne, escalating digestive issues. Nicole eventually began working with a nutritionist, and embarked on an elimination diet which cleared up her acne, dramatically improved her digestion and overall quality of life.
Shortly after, Nicole discovered Paleo through the Balanced Bites Podcast while looking for some listening material on vacation. She’s since listened to every episode at least twice. Listening to Diane and Liz bust conventional wisdom, in an easy to understand and hilarious way, ignited in her a passion for nutrition and health that changed the course of her life.
Nicole’s favorite part of being a member of the Balanced Bites team is supporting a cause and devoting her energy towards something she believes will change the world. Nicole is deeply passionate about challenging the concept of living a life of “coping,” as opposed to a life of optimum potential and ideal health. She feels proud to support Diane in spreading her message of awareness and thoughtfulness about nutrition and lifestyle, in a way that is approachable, practical and accessible.
April LeMaster | Social Media Coordinator
April has been a stay at home mom to three boys for the last 20 years. She has been training in taekwondo for the past 13 years and is a taekwondo instructor. She has always been interested in nutrition but did not learn about Paleo until 2011 when she discovered the 21Day Sugar Detox program.
Becoming Paleo changed the way she thinks about everything. She wanted to learn everything about the lifestyle so she read every book she could find and listened to hundreds of Paleo podcasts. She also attended a few Paleo seminars including Balanced Bites with Diane and Liz.
April loves being a part of the Balanced Bites team because she can work with people who share the same passion to help others learn to live a healthy lifestyle. Everyone is very positive and encouraging to one another. She is full of gratitude for the honor to work with Diane and the rest of the team.
Amanda Solorza | Content Development
For the last 10 years Amanda has worked at home as an independent contractor as a medical transcriptionist. Funnily enough, it was when she joined a cloth diapering forum when she got pregnant with her third child that she was introduced to more “crunchy” ways of living, and real food was part of that. It made sense to her at the time, because she was struggling with so many side effects of diet sodas and packaged foods.
Amanda was first introduced to the WAPF way of eating where she found out more about raw milk and local grass-fed beef. From there she traveled down the eventual rabbit trail into Paleo eating.
Amanda loves that she loves being part of the Balanced Bites team! She loves being able to do what she’s good at (listening and typing) and using it to introduce this way of eating to the masses. She was so unhappy working medical transcription, where there is so much about the western medical profession that has lost its appeal to her.